Marker pen comparison

October 4, 2017

Categories: Bulb Information, Growing Daffodils, Planting

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Like a lot of people, I use plastic markers to mark out my plantings. I have tried various permanent markers over the years, usually Stephens Vivid which is the de-facto permanent marker here in NZ. I usually ended up having to re-mark my pegs every year or two.

John Hunter suggested to me this year that I should be using uni Prockey, made by Mitsubishi. At the time that I started using these, I thought I would run a trial of 3 different markers, I also bought a Sharpie Extreme (“Fade Resistant”).

See image below for results, I left this peg outside facing up in direct sun. The two left markings (Vivid vs Prockey) were both made in March this year. The two right (Sharpie Ex vs Prockey) were made in July this year.

I will let the results speak for themselves but I will certainly be taking John’s advice and using Prockey from now on.




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10 Responses to Marker pen comparison

  1. Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    October 5, 2017 at 5:21 am

    Here in the U.S. I have found that “Paint” pencils (or pens) are best. I get them from craft shops. They seem to last 4-5 years. The medal markers rust out before the paint quits.


  2. Annette Parker, Louisiana
    October 5, 2017 at 6:01 am

    I have switched to using 100% aluminum labels. No pens required. I
    impress the information into the cut aluminum strips and then attach the
    strip onto cut aluminum wire with a circular loop at one end. I punch a
    hole in the strip and slide the strip into the loop. Aluminum doesn’t rust
    or break down. I cut the strips out of soda cans and buy the wire (non
    galvanized) in a roll. I got this idea from a well known Crinum grower in
    Florida. He is a brilliant man who experimented with every possible label
    type before perfecting this system. Annette Parker Kahn

  3. Robin Hill, New Zealand
    October 5, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Hi All,

    I used the Prockey marker for the first time this year and found it to be excellent. A few labels that were done with a so called Vivid permanent marker have faded already.

    Pleasant Valley Daffodils in Geraldine use a very similar system to that described by Annette and seems to work very well.

    Last show of the season tomorrow in Hamilton. Some of the flowers have been stored in the fridge for several weeks so maybe starting to showing a bit of loss of texture but you never know.

  4. Kirby Fong, California
    Kirby Fong, California
    October 6, 2017 at 11:41 am

    On one of my previous visits to David Adams, he took me to a store in Christchurch that sells tag pens for writing on the tags that you attach to sheep.  I don’t remember the brand, but the ink was permanent (as you would expect for sheep that spend years outdoors).  In the U.S. the paint pens that Clay mentions seem to be the most permanent. (I don’t know what shepherds in the U.S. use.)  Like Annette, I have switched to aluminum labels, but I don’t impress the lettering into the metal.  I use a labeling tape made by Brother which is ultraviolet stabilized for outdoor use.  It lasts at least three years which is the maximum time I leave bulbs down.

  5. Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    October 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm


    I don’t have the all-aluminum labels. Where do you get them? The ones I have are aluminum on iron pegs (so to speak). The Iron wears out long before the paint pen or the labeling tape. I also have switched to the labeling tape and the Brother printer with has the ultraviolet stabilization for outdoor use. However, I still keep the Pant Pen because in the spring when the daffodils are in bloom I keep finding odd daffodils mixed in and I give them a new label (on the spot) with the paint pen marker so that I can sort them out when that batch is dug. Hopefully my marking the odds, I can keep the batch growing together from being contaminated by that odd bulb.


  6. Janet Hickman, Virginia
    October 7, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    Kincaid plant markers have stainless steel posts so they don’t rust away and they hold those Brother-printed labels well.


  7. Kirby Fong, California
    Kirby Fong, California
    October 8, 2017 at 8:57 am


    A company that’s currently offering aluminum tags is Horticultural Marketing & Printing in Mesquite, Texas at  I think Integra is their parent company.  I bought some plastic pot labels from them recently, and they threw in a paper catalogue.  On page 38 their aluminum tags are 3/4″ wide and 3-1/2″ long. A box of 500 is $75 or 1000 for $140. There are copper wires attached, presumably so you can tie them to shrubs and trees.


  8. Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    October 9, 2017 at 5:14 am

    Thanks Kirby,

    I have been buying mine from PawPaw for about the same price, however, the ones I have been buying have I iron wire pegs that support the aluminum tags.

    I’ll look into this, and the iron wire pegs rust out in about 4-5 years.


  9. Suzy Wert, Indiana
    November 12, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    No matter what kind of marking system you use, sometimes you just need a fade resistant marker! Here is a link to Prockey on Amazon (US)

  10. David Adams, New Zealand
    November 12, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    This debate has gone on for some time and I have been reluctant to give an old fashioned answer. Ordinary pencil will last for up to 15 years in my experience. Staedler do put out a superior pencil but I’ve forgotten its code number.